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Review of the reviews… what the critics say about Black and Blue and others

13 September 2006

The Independent, Black and Blue
John Walsh and his family test out Black and Blue in London's Borough Market

The Scotsman
John Davidson gets taken on a surprise birthday outing to Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles in Auchterarder.

Every surface is discreet luxury. But the welcome is warm, and staff discuss dishes on the menu with knowledge and passion. We both opted for the Menu Degustation and gave the chef ample opportunity to show off. The first thing to appear before us was ballottine of smoked foie gras, accompanied by little peach chutney toasts: absolutely the sort of indulgent snack smacking of forbidden pleasure. Round two? poached oyster with a lemongrass foam - a true taste sensation of one velvety crustacean bathed in a barely-there fragrant surf. [This] restaurant isn't cheap or accessible, and the atmosphere is ever-so-slightly stuffy. But it's not just good it's bloody good. (Diner for two, £160 excluding drinks)

Daily Telegraph, 9 SeptemberChristopher Middleton gets a taste for North Africa at Pasha in London

Yes, beetroot, honey and cinnamon. I know it sounds like a combination devised by a National Lottery machine, but it's actually rather gorgeous. As is the broad bean salad with chermoula paste (salata foul), and the mushy potato pieces with cumin and coriander (batatat el souk).Not to mention the finger-sized spicy lamb sausages (merguez). Normally Moroccan wine wouldn't come high on my must-knock-back list but, as we're abroad (well, sort of), we decide to risk the Guerrouane, and both the red and white go really rather well with all the spicy food. (£40 per head for three-course meal, excluding wine).

The Observer
Jay Rayner spots the influence of Tom Aikens in the food at Danesfield House's Oak Room restaurant in Marlow

What Aikens does requires enormous technique [and] talent to achieve the desired effect, and Adrian Byrne has that talent. The asparagus dish with a fresh, pungent mousse was particularly impressive. We had our criticisms. In a main course of turbot, herb gnocchi were spectacular but there was an aftertaste to the accompanying almond soup, as if almond essence had been added to overpunch the flavour. But any faults were made up for by the desserts, variations on greengages and pistachios, which showed both playfulness and wit. (Meal for two, £90-£150 including wine and service).

The Independent on SundayTerry Durack investigates a 21st century incarnation of the wine bar at Bedford & Strand in London

There are heaps of fun ideas in place here. House wines, for instance, are divided into Honest, Decent and Good, which seems like an honest, decent and good thing to do. Foodwise, it's the bastard offspring of All Bar One and your local gastropub. The food does enough to get by [but] at least the wines - and the floor staff - work hard for the money. A £3.50 glass of Tourangelle Sauvignon Touraine from the Loire is suitably Decent, while a £25 Sherwood New Zealand Pinot Noir should have been listed under Even Better, being complex, ripe, plumy and worth every penny. (Around £75 for two including wine and service).

The Sunday TimesAA Gill takes goes en famillie to Chiswick's High Road Brasserie

The brasserie starts with breakfast and shimmies into lunch, then dinner and supper, so you could waste an entire day here. I started with imam bayildi, because I'm trying to overcome my blackballing of aubergines. It was pretty good for an eggplant, though I wouldn't want my chicken to marry one. The best thing was an order of freshly made scotch quail's eggs, that were almost worth a visit on their own. What the menu doesn't have on it is any acknowledgement that it owes almost everything to Jeremy King and Chris Corbin, who made the Ivy, Le Caprice and, latterly, the Wolseley. If you've eaten at the Wolseley recently it all comes as a Proustian déjÁ vu or a repeat on More4. (Three stars out of five).

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